I was told there’d be cat photos

At a book party last night I witnessed what I’m tempted to call the New York media version of an Abbott and Costello routine — except it was an actual conversation, and I was a participant. Here’s how it went.

Critic: [Upon introduction.] Maud Newton… Wasn’t there a novel called that this year?

Me: I don’t think so.

Critic: Yes, I think there was a novel or something.

Friend: Are you thinking of Elizabeth Costello? Or some other book with a name for a title?

Critic: No, Maud. It’s such a common name now, all of a sudden. Recently I met a Rachel Maud. And Maud Newton, yes, it’s definitely a book.

Friend: Maybe you’re thinking of a blog?

Critic: [Pulls out phone.] Let me just check Amazon.

Me: I think I’d know if there was a novel called “Maud Newton.”

Journalist: Yes, I think she’d know.

Critic: No, I’m not finding anything. Let me put it in Google.

Me: Please don’t Google me right now.

Critic: N – E – W – T – O…

Me: Seriously, could you just not –

Critic: Oh, right, this is what I was thinking of: Maud Newton. Is this your website?

Me: Yes.

Critic: Is it a literary website?

Me: Well, sort of. People seem to think so.

Critic: Does it have a cat on it?

Me: No.

Friend: A cap?!

Critic: A cat.

Me: Not as far as I know.

Critic: Oh, I thought it had a cat.

And now it has two — Emily & Percy — so everybody’s happy.

Harry Crews in The Georgia Review giveaway

If my brief excerpt from Harry Crews’ autobiography-in-progress got you curious to read more, you’re in luck, maybe. Today I’m giving away a copy of that issue of The Georgia Review.

It’s funny: I haven’t been to the Peach State since I drove through from Tallahassee while moving here in ’99, but as luck would have it I’m headed down to The Georgia Review‘s home base — the lovely and slackerful Athens — this weekend, just as the magazine has come to town for the National Magazine Awards and a string of events. Looking to supplement your PEN World Voices event-going? Check out your options here.

If you’d like to read the Crews autobiography and letters — and to see an awesome shot of the author smoking (I think) a joint at a carnival — email me at maud [at] maudnewton [dot] com before 9 a.m. EST tomorrow (4/29), with “Georgia Review” in the subject line. All entries will be assigned numbers based on the order received, and the randomizer will choose a winner. This time the randomizer likes Sebastian S.

Weekend greetings from someone else’s buzz

Recently I posted a 1914 Dallas Morning News article about a dead woman found on a Galveston beach whom an old family friend misidentified as my great-grandmother, Alma Johnston. I planned to follow up with a couple photos I unearthed of Alma standing in and in front of the waves in Galveston, but those shots have gone missing.

Instead here’s a picture of my Newton grandpa (above, right) living it up with a buddy in someone’s backyard. Hope your weekend was equally good.